Spitzbuben cookies made for Christmas
Recipe

Spitzbuben recipe: German jam cookies

Amanda

Contributing writer

Whenever the Christmas season rolls around, I begin dreaming about my favorite German cookies: Spitzbuben, which are also often called Linzer cookies. Spitzbuben have long been a Christmas staple in my family, in a line-up with other German favorites like Stollen and Vanillekipferl

Every year growing up, I would see my Oma or mom in the kitchen carefully cutting circular shapes of dough and letting them bake to a subtle golden perfection. Then they would gently place dollops of red jam on half of the circles before sandwiching them with another circle covered in icing (powdered) sugar. 

I have now carried on this annual tradition and enjoy baking Spitzbuben for my own family in Boston (a beautiful city to visit during Christmas time!). These buttery cookies almost melt in your mouth as you taste the mixture of vanilla, sugar, lemon zest, jelly, and rum. It’s hard to stop at just one, or two, or three…


Tips:

  • These cookies are a labor of love. Take your time making them, allowing the dough to set in the fridge for at least an hour. 

  • Make sure the dough is rolled out to about ¼ inch. You don’t want it to be too thin or the cookies will quickly burn in the oven.

  • Let them fully cool before adding the jelly to the whole circles and powdered sugar to the circles with the holes in the middle

Prep: 150 min
Cook: 8 min
Total: 158 min

Ingredients

Dough

  • 400 g flour
  • 2 egg yolks
  • 120 g sugar
  • 2 tbsp vanilla sugar (2 packets)
  • 250 g butter
  • pinch salt
  • fresh lemon zest (optional)

Filling

  • 200 g red jam / jelly (red currant is traditional but any flavor will work)
  • 4 tsp rum

  • icing / powdered sugar to sprinkle over the cookies

Equipment

    You'll need a rolling pin, one medium-sized round cookie cutter*, one small round cutter (for the middle of the cookies)**, parchment / baking paper, baking sheet


    *You can use different cookie cutter shapes (flowers, stars, etc.), as long as they are big enough to cut holes out of the middle.

    **A thimble with a thin edge or the back of a piping tip for frosting both work well for this.

    Directions

    1. 1
      Place the flour in a bowl and make a hole in the middle. Add the egg yolks, sugar, vanilla sugar, salt, and lemon zest inside the hole.
    2. 2
      Cut the butter into small slices and place the slices in a circle around the edge of the flour. Make sure the butter isn’t too cold. This works best if it’s been sitting at room temperature for a while.
    3. 3
      Knead the ingredients together starting from the inside and working your way out. Continue kneading until a smooth dough forms - this should take 5-10 minutes. Wrap the dough in plastic wrap and store in the fridge for one hour.
    4. 4
      Mix the jelly with the rum and put aside. Preheat the oven to 200 C / 390 F.
    5. 5
      Lightly flour a flat surface and roll the chilled dough onto it until it is about ¼ inch thick.
    6. 6
      Use the medium-sized cookie cutter to cut about 60 circles into the dough (depending on the size of the cutter).
    7. 7
      Using the small cutter, cut a circle into the center of half of the circles.
    8. 8
      Place the circles on a baking sheet layered with parchment paper. Bake on the middle oven rack for 5-8 minutes, until the edges are just beginning to turn golden brown. Let cool.
    9. 9
      When cool, place a dollop of jam in the center of the circles without the holes.
    10. 10
      Shake icing sugar over the tops of the circles with the holes. (I place the sugar in a small sieve and use a spoon to scrape the sugar over the cookies.)
    11. 11
      Place the powdered circles on top of the circles with the jam.

    Recipe adapted from “Die Schönsten Backrezepte” from the Reichenbach Verlag GmbH, Munich.

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    Amanda

    Author - Amanda

    Amanda is a writer and mom who lives in Boston. On her website, My Vintage Map, she shares her travel tips and recommendations for destinations in New England and beyond. When she isn't writing or traveling, you will likely find her cooking, baking, reading way-too-serious nonfiction, or playing with her daughter.

    Last Updated 20 October 2022

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